Meet your guide in central St Petersburg, and get an introduction to the city’s 20th-century history — a period of seismic and often violent change that seems to belie its architectural beauty.
Appetite whetted, begin your 2-hour walking tour. Enjoy frequent photo stops on route and as you stroll, uncover the city’s communist past in fascinating detail. Learn how Russia fell to the Marxist Bolsheviks in the October Revolution of 1917, and how, led by Vladimir Lenin, they seized control of Petrograd, as St Petersburg was then known.
The Bolsheviks then went on to rule Russia for more than 70 years, and changed its name to the Soviet Union. Hear tales of Lenin who christened the city Leningrad, and how his successor, Joseph Stalin, subjected Russia to decades of repression between the 1920s and the 1950s.
Follow your guide around some of the key sites linked to both Lenin and Stalin’s rule. View what locals called ‘The Big House’— a monumental building that was the former headquarters of the KGB, the Soviet Union’s feared security agency. Hear chilling tales of the punishments meted out here, and how thousands of citizens were shot or transported to concentration camps.
Snap photos of the Russian cruiser Aurora, a pre-World War I battleship moored in the city center. Gaze at the ship as your guide recounts how a shot fired from its bows triggered the infamous October Revolution.
Walk across the Field of Mars, a landscaped park that was used as a vegetable garden during the communist-era food shortages, and hear stories of daily life in the city under Soviet rule. Call at a retro-Soviet café, and see other intriguing sites, including the Solovetsky Stone, a monument to the victims of Stalin’s purges, and Kresty Prison.
Admire the Peter and Paul Fortress, and stop to view the balcony of the Museum of Political History of Russia, from where Lenin whipped up revolutionary crowds in 1917.
After around two hours, your tour concludes back at the start point.